FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

St. Louis DoD Cyber Crime Conference, more

Last Monday and Tuesday was spent picking up my Mom to dogsit, then going to Mom2's house so that Bluejacket could pack up what they bought in Dad's workshop. They surprisingly got it all done by noon on Tuesday. I also had a couple of other people who were buying the saws, etc, stop by to pick those up, so it was pretty busy. My Mom visited with Mom2, which was good. I knew this would be an emotional time for Mom2.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bluejacket came to my house to pack up what they wanted from Chris' workshop, then one of the other buyers came buy to pick up several pieces of woodworking equipment. The workshop is almost empty downstairs now and I can get my contractor friend in to help design my office down there. I also got the treadmill the way I wanted so that I can use it (and I have been!).

Wednesday morning, the car service picked me up for my flights to St. Louis. There was a delay in O'Hare, my connecting flight, but United upgrade me to first class. Remember the hassle they gave me refunding the ticket I couldn't use the week Chris died? I guess they have my name flagged to treat me better. Good.

First class was hilarious. It was a small jet, with only four seats in first. Instead of a hot meal, we were given a box "lunch" - basically a bunch of snacks, which you would have to pay $5 in coach to eat. What a joke. I expected at least a hot meal. Oh well.

Got picked up at the St. Louis airport by a guy named Joe who is with the DoD Cyber Crime Defense Center. We had a good talk on the way to the hotel, which was fab. I got a nice room with a king-sized bed. My only complaint - it was next to the elevators. Thank goodness I brought my earplugs with me.

I had dinner with Jay and his wife, Dawn. Jay is with Technology Forums, who book me for the military events. We ate in the hotel restaurant, which was wonderful and caught up with things.

I got up early the next morning to be picked up at 6:15 am to appear on the KSDK Morning News. I was on for a whopping two minutes. Got back to my room, changed into my workout clothes, then hit the health club for the treadmill. This older man who had to be in his 70s was next to me. When he was done, he went to the bicycles in front of me and chose the one not in front of a TV, but in front of the mirror and proceeded to watch me the entire time. When I got off the treadmill, he started talking to me and asked how long I'd been on the machine. I told him and politely excused myself - I had to do a radio interview in my room. Old men picking me up! This is the third time in the past couple of weeks. Weird.

Did an interview with CBS Radio (nationwide), which was cool. Then I showered, changed and waited for a friend to pick me up for lunch. Steve was in the Marines with Chris and they were good friends. He looks the same, albeit older, and acts the same - goofy as always and made me laugh. He got to meet the folks at the conference and they took a photo of us:



I can tell I've lost weight in this photo. It's almost 30 pounds now. All my clothes are loose, which is good. But the "grief diet" is not recommended for everyone.

We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, talked forever, he showed me photos of his gorgeous wife of three years, then I bought some souvenirs for my niece and nephew. We went back to the hotel to sit in Starbucks. Steve is a CPA and he is going to help me invest my money so that I can safely retire in 15 years (if not earlier). I am math-deficient (it was my worst subject in school), but he walked me through recommended investments, then showed me the best, medium and worst scenarios over the next 15 years. Even the worst (and he admitted he was being very conservative) was not bad at all. I was really relieved.

We talked for another couple of hours in the lobby. He couldn't get Friday off, so he had to drive back to Chicago (four hours). What a sweetie. I can't believe it's been 15 years since I'd last seen him.

I stayed in my room, did room service and packed. In the morning I took all my luggage to the speaker room, then went to my lecture room to set up. It was the last day of the conference and unfortunately most people had gone home. I had about 100 people, which I was told later was pretty much everyone who had stayed - the other speakers who had talks the same time as me had very few people in them. I had two FBI guys, a St. Louis cop and a CIA guy come up to tell me they all learned something - and these were forensics guys. I was pleased as punch. Sold a few books (the conference bookstore closed the day before, so I had to sell them for them).

Hugged everyone and went to the airport. My flight left on time, but in O'Hare, flights were delayed again. I was there for three hours. I ended up meeting three great people in the airport bar - Tiffany, who could be Reese Witherspoon's twin, Joel "Les" Paul, who manages a Guitar Center store and River Hwang. We hung out, then Joel and River had to get on their flights. Tiffany and I bonded immediately and she asked me how long I'd been married, noticing my wedding rings.

I've come to the realization that it's time to stop wearing them. It's very uncomfortable when I travel and the "how long have you been married" question comes up. I can either make believe Chris is alive and lie, or say he died and get the pity looks. So I'm going to wear my wedding band on my right hand, put my engagement ring in a velvet pouch with Chris' wedding ring (the funeral home director had given it back to me at the funeral) and wear the diamond/emerald band on my left hand. It looks casual enough to not be mistaken for a wedding ring.

I finally got home at 1:30 in the morning. My Mom was so relieved to see me home, as were the dogs. Got up the next morning (Saturday) to go shopping for a present for Vivi, my friend. Her brother was having a surprise party for her that day. Mom and I had lunch, shopped, then got home to wrap the presents. We headed to Viv's at 3:15 and pretended we stopped by so that my Mom could say goodbye to Vivi before taking her home. When she and Mom went outside to smoke, Ron told me the other guests were late. I said let's go to the car to get my presents anyway and when we did - there were the other guests! We came in the house and Vivi was in the bathroom. The look on her face when we yelled Happy Birthday as she walked into the kitchen was priceless.

We had a great dinner, good music and Vivi loved all her presents, especially the Banana Bunker I bought her (in orange). I put a banana in it and it was the hit of the party.

Got home, collapsed in bed, slept, then took my Mom to Concord the next day to meet my sister and niece for brunch. On the way back stopped at Mom2's to take her shopping, then went home and collapsed in bed for a much needed nap. I have to be careful or I am going to fall apart.

Monday morning did a live Fox Morning News Show in Portland, Maine for 10 minutes. The studio was down a one lane dirt road, with no lights on when I got there. Very weird, but the two hosts were nice and want me back on. Hooray!

Did a radio interview, headed to Mom2's to let a buyer pick up equipment he bought, went home and took a nap, then Vivi came over and brought dinner - steak, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. We talked, drank some wine, then she left so that I could watch "24."

Yesterday the same guy came to my house to pick up things here and take some old shelves to the dump for me. He brought his 6-year-old daughter, a cutie. I gave her a stuffed rabbit that I'd given Chris. His name is Herman and I told her to take good care of him.

Took a long bubble bath after going on the treadmill and watched some shows I'd taped, then hit the sack. I'm still tired, but have a doctor's appointment this am, then lunch with a friend. Maybe I'll take a nap.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

If you live in New England

I'm going to be on Fox 23 in Maine tomorrow morning at 7:20 am.

http://fox23me.com/

Check your local listings to see what channel on your cable lineup.

Jayne

Thursday, January 25, 2007

St. Louis radio interview

You can listen to my St. Louis radio interview:

KMOX Radio

Enjoy!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Looking for volunteer to research cyberstalking laws for WHOA

I am looking for a reliable volunteer who can update the cyberstalking laws pages at http://www.haltabuse.org/resources/laws/index.shtml.

If you are interested, look through what we have there. What you will need to do is go to each state's government web site to find out if they have a bill in session, if they are updating a cyberstalking or online law to have more "bite," or if there is a new link to the current law. Many of the links are outdated and there have been states in the news lately who are trying to pass a law or are updating theirs.

Your updates, changes and additions need to be in the same exact format as we have on the site right now.

Once you go through all 50 states, then I need you to go through countries outside the USA - many have passed laws and we need to keep up with this.

I would also want the volunteer who takes this position to begin looking into cyberbullying and online predator laws for the WHOA-KTD web site. We haven't started those pages yet, so this would be from the ground up.

To qualify, you must have a good command of the English language (written and spoken, in case you have to make phone calls to find out about the laws), you must be over 18 and you must like doing research. This will be done at your own pace, but I would like to see at least one update each day once you come on board.

If you are interested, please email me direct at whoa@haltabuse.org with why you feel you can do this job.

Again, this is a volunteer position, but you will be working for a great cause - keeping Internet users safer online.

Jayne A. Hitchcock
President
WHOA & WHOA-KTD
haltabuse.org
haltabusektd.org

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I'm in AP Story about Internet deception

(read the whole story, but here's the pertinent parts)

22-year-old killed after being drawn into Internet deceptions
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--deadlytriangle0120jan20,0,5463808.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork

He was an 18-year-old Marine headed to war.

She was an attractive young woman sending him off from afar with pictures and lingerie.

Or so each one thought.

In reality, they were two middle-aged people carrying on an Internet fantasy based on seemingly harmless lies.

When a truthful 22-year-old was drawn in, their cyber escape turned deadly.

"When you're on the Internet talking, you haven't got a clue who that is on the other end," Erie County Sheriff's Lt. Ron Kenyon said. "You don't have a clue."



Montgomery's alleged actions "have impacted everyone else's lives around him for the rest of their lives," observed Internet crime expert J.A. Hitchcock, author of "Net Crimes & Misdemeanors."

"I'm hoping that this case will make people think twice about what they do online and what their actions can cause in the long run," she said.

The high school Barrett attended recently had a seminar to teach parents how to avoid Internet predators, Sarkovics said. "When you think about it, you almost have to do it for adults as well," he said. "It could be anybody."

Kennebunk Free Library talk & book signing

I left the house at 5:45 to drop off a DVD at the video store and some mail at the post office, then headed up Route 1 to the Kennebunk Free Library to do an online safety talk and book signing. I drove through Dunkin' Donuts for a cappucinno - it was coooold last night.

Got to the library and brought my stash in and met Mamie. She had originally booked me in November, the week after Chris and Dad died and I had to cancel. She gave me a hug and told me she admired me for being so strong to get back to work so quickly. I told her that working kept my mind off of things for a short while and that is a good thing. She took me to the room I'd be speaking in. If you are ever in Kennebunk, Maine, visit this library. It's worth it just to walk around and see the beautiful woodwork, paintings and other things in this historical building.

A man was already there while I was setting up. I asked him how he was and he said, "Why do you want to know?" I laughed and said he must be Wayne, one of the cops from the Kennebunk Police Department. He was. He had come to protect me in case the crazy cyberstalker guy showed up. He's also their computer tech guy and is going to be taking forensic courses soon. I may have news on this later.

I saw that Rich and Ellen from Kennebunk Book Port were there to sell my books. They did not know about Chris. When Mamie had called them to cancel before, she told them about Dad. So I told them about Chris. Rich was really upset - he and Chris had met this past summer and had swapped military stories and had really gotten along. He was shook up and they both hugged me. I came thisclose to breaking down. Thank goodness I'd taken a xanax before going out.

I set up my laptop and had brought portable speakers with me so that I could show the video I like to show when I talk to parents about Myspace and keeping kids/teen safe online.

People started filtering in, Bob (a friend of Dave's, my cop friend, who had helped me sell Chris' firearms and accessories) came with his aunt. More people came and a total of about 20 showed up. It was a really good crowd.

I have to say, this is the first time I've done a lecture at a library where they actually served red and white wine with the refreshments. I was really surprised at that.

My talk went very well and I gave away some goodies, then took a bunch of questions. I sold a few books and by the time I'd packed up, it was almost 9 pm - I'd started my talk at 7 pm.

Mamie hugged me again and told me to stay strong, then handed me:



I was very surprised and touched. They're beautiful.

Dave showed up and he and Wayne helped me bring my things back out to the Jeep. I said good bye to Wayne, then gave Dave something I thought he'd want of Chris' - a plaque with a CD and engraved with the time he was an instructor at Ft. Meade in Maryland at the Defense Information School. They gave it to him when he left. I thought Dave was going to cry. He told me he's got a special place on one wall in his office with a USMC tie clip, a medal from Kuwait that Chris had gotten when he was in Desert Storm, a USMC flag I gave him and now this. He was pleased as punch.

I drove home and Bandit and Guin were very happy I was back. I gave them snacks, then watched Monk and Psych, which I'd taped. They were as good as I'd expected. I had some chips and salsa (I hadn't eaten dinner earlier), then went to bed.

I actually slept to 6 am this morning. I'd been getting up at 4:30 almost all week. It felt good to sleep "late."

Getting my nails done this morning, some shopping, then home to work on my DoD Cyber Crime Conference presentation and do some things around the house. Tonight is going to be a lazy night - just relaxing.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Equipment is continuing to go

I've had a couple of more people come by both workshops to pick up some more of the equipment and more are coming Sunday to the house here to look at and buy more, then come Tuesday to get some more. I even have a high interest in the lathe, the most expensive piece ($1,500 OBO) from two people. So it's first come, first serve, LOL.

Tuesday, Bluejacket is packing up both workshops, starting with Dad's first. I'll be meeting them at the workshop there Monday afternoon to go through the logistics, do another walkthrough, etc. I'm picking my Mom up at lunch, because I leave for St. Louis on Wednesday and she can spend time with Mom2, which will be nice for both of them. They like each other a lot.

Tuesday morning, my Mom and I will meet Bluejacket at 8 am to get them going with the packup. They have high hopes to be done by noon, then will head over to my house to pick up the things there that they want. I will be so glad to see this done with.

Then, when I get back from my trip and have the time, I will find someone to move the more expensive pieces of equipment to my house and donate the rest to the local high school (for a tax writeoff). I promised Mom2 that Dick, Bill, Vivi and whoever else I can find will come over and help to a basic cleanup of the basement so that she doesn't have to pay someone a lot of money to do it. The less she has to do, the better.

And once the equipment is gone from my house, I have a contractor friend who is coming in to help me design and build my office in the basement. That way, I can turn Chris' office into a guest room, renovate and enlarge the bathroom and either make my current office a small guest room or a storage area. I haven't decided yet.

One step at a time.

I am honestly exhausted. All I've been doing the last two days is running around. I have a lecture/book signing tonight, then an appointment in the morning in Portsmouth, then I need to get home and work on finishing up my presentation for the Cyber Crime Conference next week.

I'll pamper myself tomorrow night with a bubble bath, dinner and maybe a glass or two of wine. Sunday more people come over to buy things, then I get to rest again before the craziness of next week starts.

I rented the movie "Crank" and couldn't get through the first five minutes. I hate it when they do the crazy camera jiggly, jump cut, special effects thing. It gives me a headache.

Monk and Psych start tonight! I'm taping them to watch when I get home and for tomorrow night. I love those shows. Then Heroes starts again on Monday!!!!

When things calm down, I am going to treat myself to a much-needed vacation. I promise.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Chittenden Bank Sucks

Chris had gotten his motorcycle loan through the dealership, who uses Chittenden Bank out of Vermont. The interest rate was reasonable and we put enough down so that the payments were about $125/month.

When Chris died, my lawyer said to keep making the payments until the life insurance came in, then pay off the loan to get the title.

So I did.

I get a phone call last week from a woman saying they did not receive the December payment. I doublechecked the payment coupon book from them and my checkbook. I sent the check out on December 15th. I told her holiday mail may have held it up because other checks I sent out at the same time were also arriving late. She suggested I put a stop payment on it. I asked if they were going to pay the $40 fee for that. She said no. I told her I'd rather wait to see if the check got to them. She was pretty pissy about it and said if it didn't come by last Friday, then I would have to pay a late fee on it.

I asked her what the payoff amount was on that day. She told me. I informed her that I planned on paying it off this week and she told me to call back and I would be given the payoff amount.

So on Saturday, I get not one, but TWO "default" notices - one of them sent certified, claiming two payments were now late. Say what? I checked my checking account and they got one of the payments, so they were lying.

What in the hell is wrong with this bank? NO bank or credit card company I have ever dealt with over the years has EVER called when one payment late. And I never missed more than one (even then, that happened only once when I was in between jobs in my much younger days).

I *always* pay my bills on time and I was really ticked I got two default notices.

So today I call to get the payoff amount. I was told by "Holly" that only Christopher could get it, even though I told her that the woman I spoke with last week gave me a payoff amount then. I informed her he was dead. She told me they not only needed a copy of the death certificate, but a copy of his will showing I was executor of his estate.

What in the frelling hell is this B.S? I am PAYING OFF A LOAN. Why do they need to see his will? Not one of the other credit card/loan companies asked for it. All they asked for was a death certificate.

Some people are just so damned rude. She didn't even say she was sorry about my loss.

I am not happy.

I called the collections department, asked for the woman I'd spoken to last week and she is no longer working there. But, the guy who answered was more than happy to give me a payoff amount. He didn't ask why, he didn't tell me he had to speak to Chris.

I wrote out the check, hopped in the Jeep (which is the only thing I can drive because of the darned ice driveway we have right now - even the plow guy couldn't get rid of the ice), went to the local Ocean National Bank branch (they're part of Chittenden), paid off the loan and that's that.

I hope Holly has a wonderful day.

Whatever you do - do NOT get a loan through Chittenden Bank.

Monday, January 15, 2007

WHOA Newsletter - January 15, 2007

WHO@ Newsletter

January 15, 2007

I couldn't make this up if I tried. . .I didn't know they were that hard up (pun intended)

More Internet sex please, we're Croatian
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070112/tc_afp/croatiasexinternet
A majority of Croatians say they find the Internet to be a useful tool in improving their sex lives, according to a survey.

Fifty-eight percent of Croatians who responded to a magazine questionaire said that they had ended up in bed with people they had met while surfing on match-making or pornographic websites.

More than 85 percent of Croatians who visit the sites said they had met up with their online friends, said the survey of 2,079 people published in the Drustvena istrazivanja magazine.

Sixty-two percent of women and 54 percent of men said they have had sexual relations with people they had met on such websites, it added.

According to the study, on average visitors to the websites are 30-year-old singles, have a university degree, and are satisfied with their sex lives.

The biggest number, or 44 percent, are aged between 25 and 34, followed by 30 percent of them aged between 12 and 24, and 19 percent between 35 and 44.

According to estimates in the local press, some 240,000 Croatians out of 1.2 million with Internet access are regular visitors of pornographic sites.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NEWS TO USE AND PASS ALONG!

(DISCLAIMER: The following news items were found on the web and were not written or endorsed by WHO@; they are for informational purposes only)

Man banned in first case under anti-spam law - 01/15/07
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=WUV4PSUQIN1RLQFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2007/01/15/nspam15.xml
A trader who encouraged "spammers" to send unwanted emails has received a High Court ban in what is thought to be the first case of its kind.

A touch of Internet 'street smarts' can protect you from hacker attacks - 01/15/07
http://origin.insidebayarea.com/business/ci_5016670
WITH COMPUTER viruses and phishing having evolved to organized crime practiced by well-paid hackers who siphon off and then sell your vital information, it's more necessary than ever to protect your computer from intrusion.

Universal Phishing Kit Selling Online - 01/15/07
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20070115/tc_nf/49324
A phishing kit that EMC's security division first discovered last week is still being sold and used online by fraudsters. The software, known as the Universal Man-in-the-Middle Phishing Kit, is designed to help fraudsters capture victims' personal information in real-time, according to RSA, the security division of EMC.


Order to ban YouTube over steamy video of model ignites Brazil firestorm - 01/14/07
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003524395_youtube14.html
A time-honored Brazilian pastime ­ getting frisky with a significant other on the beach ­ has ignited a nationwide debate about Internet freedoms.

PayPal Adds Security To Fight Phishing - 01/13/07
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20070114/tc_nf/49322
Online payment service PayPal is preparing to offer its users a new security weapon to help ward off data thieves and phishing scams with a password-generated key fob.

New law to curb cyber blasphemy takes effect - 01/13/07
http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Pakistan+%26+Sub-Continent&month=January2007&file=World_News2007011323935.xml
In Pakistan the act of using electronic system or device by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the scared name of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), will be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall be liable to fine.

MI5 terror alert blunder sends private data to US mailshot firm - 01/13/07
http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=428657&in_page_id=1770
Confidential details sent to MI5 by thousands of individuals and businesses have ended up with an American company specialising in supermarket mailshots.

Death-threat e-mail jars local man - 01/13/07
http://www.tdn.com/articles/2007/01/14/area_news/news07.txt
Longview resident Robert Chace wasn't sure if he should take seriously an e-mail he received Jan. 6 threatening to kill him unless he paid the unknown sender $80,000.

Former jail guard admits threats against sheriff - 01/13/07
http://www.salemnews.com/local/local_story_013064624
A former Middleton Jail guard long at odds with Sheriff Frank Cousins admitted yesterday to posting racially charged threats against the sheriff on an Internet forum.

Blog wields power in restaurant world - 01/12/07
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070113/ap_on_hi_te/dining_wars
Ben Leventhal and Lockhart Steele are a pair of bloggers fighting a guerrilla war against the city's publicists. Nearly every day, the two provide restaurant information on their popular Web site, Eater.com., posting tidbits that publicists aren't ready to release and traditional journalists haven't managed to print.

Apartment scammer on Craigslist catches FBI attention - 01/12/07
http://business.bostonherald.com/realestateNews/view.bg?articleid=176838
Beth Ann Bovino was baffled when she suddenly faced a lineup of would-be renters at her Manhattan apartment door. There was just one problem: Her place wasn’t for rent.

The Pirate Bay plans to buy island - 01/12/07
http://www.thelocal.se/6076/20070112/
Swedish file-sharing website The Pirate Bay is planning to buy its own nation in an attempt to circumvent international copyright laws.

Felony Charges Against Trooper In Nude Pics Posting Tossed - 01/12/07
http://www.wgal.com/news/10734835/detail.html
A judge dismissed felony charges

Cybersquatters score after Beckham reveals US move - 01/12/07
http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.1122067.0.cybersquatters_score_after_beckham_reveals_us_move.php
INTERNET CHANCERS looking to make easy money out of David Beckham's multi-million dollar entrance into US football struck within minutes of the announcement that he would join Los Angeles Galaxy.

Doctor charged with illegal prescribing over Internet - 01/11/07
http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20070111/tc_infoworld/85087
An Illinois doctor was sentenced Thursday to more than three years in prison for illegally prescribing drugs over the Internet, the U.S.
Department of Justice said.

FBI warns public about 'hit man' email scam - 01/11/07
http://www.wthr.com/Global/story.asp?S=5920805&nav=9Tai
An email scam is trying to frighten unwitting victims into forking over large amounts of cash to criminals. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a warning for everyone as it looks into the messages.

The rise of the cyber-stalker - 01/10/07
http://society.guardian.co.uk/crimeandpunishment/story/0,,1986908,00.html
When Karen Allison ended her marriage she knew her husband wouldn't let her go quietly. "He had been abusive," she says, "so I expected him to punish me for leaving."

Career can implode from e-mail bomb - 01/09/07
http://washingtontimes.com/national/20070108-115827-5079r.htm
Scattered throughout tens of thousands of U.S. government offices, from Suitland to Singapore, are weapons of personal destruction just waiting to wreck the careers of unwitting civil servants. The main weapon is e-mail. When used improperly, e-mail can ensure the professional demise of a longtime fed.

Is this Britain's most gullible town? - 01/09/07
http://www.metro.co.uk/money/article.html?in_article_id=32222&in_page_id=36Residents of Oldham have staked their claim as the most gullible people in Britain - after losing £13m to marketing scams last year.

Facing jail, 'dying millionairess' who cheated her lovers out of £100,000 - 01/09/07
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23381064-details/Facing+jail,+'dying+millionairess'+who+cheated+her+lovers+out+of+%C2%A3100,000/article.do
To the men she seduced, Emma Golightly was a wealthy businesswoman who liked nothing more than to shower her lovers with top-of-the-range cars and exotic holidays.

WHOA - Put A Stop To Online Crime

(Please forward to anyone you know who may be interested in attending - if you're in the Kennebunk, Maine area - please do come!)

WHOA - put a stop to crime
http://www.keepmecurrent.com/AandE/story.cfm?storyID=30520
KENNEBUNK (Jan 11): Stop and chat with Internet crime expert and author Jayne Hitchcock Friday, Jan. 19 at Kennebunk Free Library

Jayne Hitchcock, founder of the organization Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA), will visit the Kennebunk Free Library on Friday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. to discuss her book," Net Crimes & Misdemeanors: Outmaneuvering Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists."

Hitchcock’s book provides practical, easy-to-follow methods for dealing with spam, viruses, hack attacks, identity theft and other online dangers.

Once a victim of a cyberstalker, Hitchcock serves as an advocate for laws to deter cyberstalkers and assists victims. She consults with law enforcement personnel and works with online communities to adopt voluntary policies creating safe Internet environments.

Hitchcock has also served as a consultant to the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime and the National Center for Victims of Crime. She is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Cyber Crimes and Criminal Justice.

Hitchcock has appeared on Primetime Thursday, 48 Hours, and Good Morning America, has authored eight books, and is a prolific freelance writer.

The discussion is the second event in the library’s 2006-2007 “Steps to Knowledge” program for visiting authors.

Members of the public - especially parents and teens - are encouraged to attend. There is no charge for this event.

Books will be available for sale and signing, and refreshments will be served.

For more information, call Mamie Anthoine Ney at the library at 985-2173 x. 103 or visit www.kennebunklibrary.org or www.haltonlineabuse.org.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Cutco, Kittery Trading Post, more

Wednesday drove to Concord to have lunch with my mom and sister, but it turns out only my mom showed up. My niece was sick and my sister stayed home. We had a very good lunch and when I got home, caught up on a few things before a friend came over to demonstrate Cutco kitchen knives and accessories.

She's just starting out and I was her second "guinea pig." It was funny, because Cutco is located in Olean, NY, where I did talks at some schools last year. She went through her spiel and did a good job. There are these Super Shears that actually cut a penny in half - she demonstrated that. I was *very* impressed.

Even though I hadn't planned on buying anything, I have never had a good cheese knife and ordered one of those, as well as a kitchen tool set. I have cheap ones you buy at KMart, etc. These are all guaranteed for life, so I am excited.

Thursday I ran around with the dogs on errands, began putting my clothes in the new dresser drawers and general cleaning up. My living room curtains arrived the day before and look beautiful, so I went to Linens N Things to find bracket holders instead of tiebacks to pull them back (does that make sense?). They are a brushed gold to match the picture frames in the living room.

The life insurance check came and I headed to my lawyer's office to pick it up, give him a $1,000 retainer for his services (I'll be billed February 1st for the rest), then went downstairs to see Vivi in her office. I've never seen so many zeroes on a check before. She hugged me and we decided to have dinner out. I was mentally relieved and a bit exhausted and couldn't even begin to think of what to eat for dinner.

I went to the bank, talked with their financial advisor (I know all the girls there, so they were wonderful when I walked in), and put some into my checking to pay off:

1) The damned motorcycle so that I can put the title in my name and sell it. Anyone interested in a Triumph Bonneville T-100 with less than 500 miles and upgrades? The original parts are included. It's in like new condition.

2) The Sears credit card, which was in Chris' name

3) The hospital bill from when Chris was in for the pancreatitis. Although our insurance covered a lot of the bill, we still owed a lot.

4) Pay off some of my credit card debt

The rest went into a money market checking account, which gets 4% interest. A friend of Chris' from the Marines is now a financial wiz in Chicago and is going to help me invest some of it. I want to renovate the bathroom first (a project Chris and I had planned on doing for a long time now), then maybe the kitchen. But the bathroom is a priority. The bathtub is all pitted and the tiles on that wall are mildewed and beginning to fall off. I want to get one of those jet spa type tubs.

Vivi and I went to our favorite Japanese restaurant, but it was closed, so we headed to Chapman Cottage, a B&B that serves dinner Wed-Sun nights.

It's a beautiful place, the people who work there are wonderful and the food was superb. I had half a rack of lamb with roasted potatoes and a field greens salad with champagne dressing; Vivi had an 8-ounce filet mignon with roasted potatoes and the same salad, plus two glasses of red wine, dessert and cappucino afterwards. All for under $100 including the tip.

Friday I finished putting clothes that had been in boxes into the new dresser drawers, caught up with a bunch of paperwork and generally tried to get a little more organized. It is so overwhelming sometimes dealing with everything.

My cop friend, Dave, and his friend, Bob, came over at 4 pm to clean out the gun safe in the basement and take the rest of the firearms, ammo and accessories to Kittery Trading Post, where Chris had bought almost all of his firearms. I was dreading that some of the sales guys he knew were there and they weren't. The guy who waited on us, Judge, was very nice and gave me cash versus trade (basically a gift card for anything in the store - check out the web site, they're like L.L. Bean). I would have lost 30% going cash, so I did the gift card and have almost $2,000 in gift card credit. So I'll be buying birthday and Christmas presents from KTP, ha ha.

I did leave two of the salesguys Chris knew well the memorial leaflets from the funeral service and gave them my phone number to call if they wanted to. So far, no calls. Oh well.

Dave and Bob dropped me off and I collapsed. It was 7 pm. I heated up some chicken quesadillas in the oven, then watched The Ghost Whisperer with the dogs.

Today I headed over to the workshop to supervise the sale of four pieces of machinery for a friend of mine, Bob, who is restoring a wooden sailboat. He brought a friend with him and expressed interest in the Atlas Lathe. The company who makes it said I should ask at least $2,000 for it, but I told him $1,500 OBO. He said if no one else buys it, he'll take it. Phew! That was the most expensive piece of equipment in the shop. Everything else is going from $10 up to about $350.

I took Mom2 to the store to stock up on milk and stuff just in case this storm we're supposed to get is really bad. I want to make sure she's taken care of in case I can't get over there.

I went to KTP to buy new sneakers for my walks with Guin and Bandit and ended up getting a pair of chestnut Ugg boots (the last pair that happened to be in my size and at an excellent price) and some mocs to replace the ones I've been wearing out, plus three pairs of funky socks.

I'm home now, trying to put more things away. Vivi is going to be calling. Maybe we'll hang out. If not, I'll go pick up some swordfish or tuna, take a nice, long bubble bath and hang out with the dogs.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Have you had a bad online dating experience?

If so, I have a media opportuntity for you.

Rachel Clap from Charlotte, North Carolina with WCNC is putting together a story on online dating safety and asked if I knew of anyone in the North Carolina area that had a negative experience with online dating. Her number is (704) 329-3736. She assured me that her station will take all confidentiality precautions the interviewee requests.

If you are not in that area, but *did* have a bad online dating experience and would be interested in being interviewed by media, please forward your info to me at netcrimes@netcrimes.net. I'm always getting media requests!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Equipment's starting to go

Went to the workshop yesterday to meet with two of the ship model guys. They ended up buying two pieces of the equipment and put dibs on a third, of which I have to get a price on. I contacted the company who made it and they should be getting back to me with something.

I began sending out the list of available equipment and my asking prices and already sold four more.

If anyone who reads this is in New England and is interested in woodworking equipment (I have everything from band saws to table saws to mini table saws to drills to you name it), email me for the list. I also have photos and you can email me for those if you see something on the list you're interested in.

Today it's lunch with my mom and sister, then home to walk the dogs, sit through a demo for a friend who is selling kitchen gadgets and needs the practice, then relax.

Oh! Watched "Snakes on a Plane" with my friend, Vivi, last night. We ordered a pizza and laughed our butts of. It's a great, fun film (but only if you're not deathly afraid of snakes, LOL). And I just love Samuel L. Jackson!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ahhhh, a real bed.

Finally, after almost two months of sleeping on an air mattress, I slept on a real bed last night. My bed. Kline's Furniture delivered the new bedroom set yesterday from noon -2 pm. Vivi stayed with me while the delivery guys (two of them) were here. We talked with them and teased them a bit and they were good-natured. The dresser w/mirror was longer than my old one, but fits in well. The wood is called cherry, although it matches the old pine door and window frames of the house - like it was made to be in that bedroom.

The armoire is bigger than I thought, too, but the TV fits in it perfectly. The bed is HUGE. King size, like the old one, but being a platform bed with a set of four drawers underneath on one side, it's really high, almost like the beds in the 1800s or so. I had gotten Guin some Doggy Steps and I had to order the additional step. She needs it. The headboard is a bookcase with two lights inside and a drawer, so I don't have to worry about nightstands.

That's one thing about the room, even with the old king sized bed, we couldn't fit in regular sized nightstands. People have asked me why I got a king sized bed even though it's just me in the house. It's because I've pretty much always slept in one for at least the past eight years and almost every hotel I stay at has a king sized bed. I like them. So there.

I love it when my dogs can me people laugh unexpectedly or go "awwww" and that happened yesterday. When the delivery guys first came, I put Bandit and Guin in the bathroom. But then I had to let them out when the guys needed to use the bathroom to maneuver some of the furniture into the bedroom. This is when Guin came bouncing out, jumping up in the air and dancing in a circle and basically had this goofy grin on her face. The delivery guys burst out laughing, so did Vivi.

After she and Bandit settled down and realized there were things going on in the house and to stay out of the way, they got into the same dog bed together. Not the huge one Bandit usually sleeps in that can fit the two of them. Of course not. Had to be the small one that is Guin-sized. So there they were, one of top of the other, looking like two peas in a pod.

The delivery guys brought something in and both went "Awwwwwww." Vivi laughed and thought it was the cutest thing ever.

Those dogs are the best.

Vivi and I went for a late lunch at Inn at Long Sands, because our favorite restaurant was closed for vacation. It turned out to be a fortuitous decision. The owner, Arline, chatted with us and we ordered French onion soup. It was delish! While we talked, it came out that Vivi is a massage therapist. Arline was thrilled! She has guests who come in looking for a massage. So Vivi is going to drop off some brochures and cards and offer a special discount for hotel guests. Then Vivi was telling Arline about my work and now Arline wants to set up a lecture and book signing for me in February or March! Wow!

Vivi helped me put the new comforter set and feather topper on the bed, then hugged me and left me to putter in the "new" bedroom. It's definitely a "girlie" room now. The walls are a soft rose, the curtains are white with crystal-like spangles in them, the comforter set is gold and silver. It's a warm room. Cozy. Comfy.

I finally got exhausted, made some Chai green tea, took an airborne and settled in the living room to watch TV and read. My cop friend, Dave, called and we talked for a long time. I have a book signing coming up where an alleged cyberstalker has threatened to show up and it's in Dave's jurisdiction, so he's going to have security there for me. This is when I could use Chris - he was always my "bodyguard" and loved doing that. I miss him.

Went to bed at night. Had to be up early to put trash and recycling out, then heading to Dad's workshop to meet some ship model folks to see if they want to buy any of the equipment. I have several other people who are into woodworking (one guy makes his own furniture) who want to buy some things, so I hope this all goes fast. If the equipment doesn't by the time Bluejacket comes to clean out the workshop, I'll have it moved to my basement and go from there. I know there is anxiety about getting the basement cleaned out and it's happening just as fast as we can make it happen and not any sooner.

Now off to take my shower, get my coffee and hit the road.

Monday, January 08, 2007

WHOA Newsletter - January 8, 2007

WHOA Newsletter

January 8, 2007

I couldn't make this up if I tried. . .Psst, wanna buy a bridge, too?

World's smallest country up for sale
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070108/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_island

For sale: the world's smallest country with its own flag, stamps, currency and passports.

Apply to Prince Michael of Sealand if you want to run your own storm-tossed nation -- even if it is just a wartime fort perched on two concrete towers in the North Sea.

Built in World War Two as an anti-aircraft base against German bombers, the derelict platform was taken over 40 years ago by retired army major Paddy Roy Bates who went to live there with his family.

He declared the platform, perched seven miles off the east coast of England just outside Britain's territorial waters, to be the principality of Sealand.

The self-styled Prince Roy adopted a flag, chose a national anthem and minted silver and gold coins as its currency.

The family saw off an attempt by the Royal Navy to evict them and also an attempt in 1978 by a group of German and Dutch businessmen to seize Sealand by force.

"I was held prisoner out there for three or four days and then managed to get back to England," Roy's son Michael told BBC Radio on Monday.

"I slid down a rope out of a helicopter with my father and a couple of comrades and took the place back against armed opposition. It was quite a high point in my life," he said.

Prince Michael, whose 85-year-old father now lives in Spain, said his family had been approached by estate agents with clients "who wanted a bit more than a bit of real estate, they wanted autonomy."

Asked what were the delights of living on Sealand, the 54-year-old prince said "The neighbours are very quiet. There is a good sea view."

"There is no jurisdiction by any other country in the world," he said, suggesting it could be a base for online gambling or offshore banking.

Calling it a cross between a house and a ship, the prince acknowledged it was not the world's most picturesque country, boasting as it does two large concrete towers with eight rooms in each tower.

"It is fairly bleak," he conceded. ""But it is quite pleasant sitting inside in the warm and watching the horrendous weather roaring past the double-glazed windows."

So what did he expect to get for Sealand?

"We shall see," Prince Michael said. "I will listen to anybody who wants to talk."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NEWS TO USE AND PASS ALONG!

(DISCLAIMER: The following news items were found on the web and were not written or endorsed by WHO@; they are for informational purposes only)

Online Dating: Safety Issues and Solutions in 2007; Efforts Under Way to Fight Financial Scams and Sexual Predators - 01/08/07
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,41676.shtml
With increased numbers of users and an increase in the amount of providers of online dating services comes opportunity for cyber crime and a need for users of these services to maintain safety awareness while surfing for love. In light of this, public safety advocates and state lawmakers are promoting legislation to create greater safety protections for online daters in 2007.

Librarians help police book 'em - 01/07/07
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=550107
The investigation of a Brookfield man on charges that he used the Internet to sell counterfeit clothing and defraud customers throughout the country received help from an unlikely source: librarians.

Attack of the Zombie Computers Is Growing Threat - 01/07/07
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/technology/07net.html?ei=5088&en=2d1ccd4e0cd204b8&ex=1325826000&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1168294375-nlrri8X+r2+hEGO9d41Lbw
In their persistent quest to breach the Internet’s defenses, the bad guys are honing their weapons and increasing their firepower.

Arkansas Tech Instructor Arrested On Stalking Charge - 01/06/07
http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2007/01/07/news/010707arinternetstalk.txt
An Arkansas Tech chemistry teacher was suspended after his arrest on a felony charge of Internet stalking.

PITBULL FOR SALE
After just three phone calls, we buy a killer dog for £525 - 01/06/07
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_headline=pitbull-for-sale%26method=full%26objectid=18404108%26siteid=94762-name_page.html
THE Daily Mirror today exposes the illegal internet trade in potentially lethal pitbull terrier dogs.

Chinese teenager hangs himself after suffering heartbreak from online romance - 01/06/07
http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=125895&version=1&template_id=45&parent_id=25
A 17-year-old Chinese boy hanged himself after a catastrophic meeting with his online sweetheart, Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

Police warn of cyber-scam promising money - 01/05/07
http://www.projo.com/news/content/WB_cvscam04_01-05-07_3S3N9HV.2e36424.html
Michele Grecko-O’Rourke still shudders at what could have happened had she cashed the post office money orders she received by parcel post early last month.

Talk on Internet safety Jan. 19 - 01/05/07
http://www.keepmecurrent.com/AandE/story.cfm?storyID=30324
Internet crime expert and author Jayne Hitchcock will discuss her book, "Net Crimes & Misdemeanors: Outmaneuvering Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists" at the Kennebunk Free Library.

Craigslist Enlists Police, ISPs, and Community to Fight "Spamvertising" - 01/05/07
http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3624412
"Any idea why I was flagged?" inquires one poster. "Flag help please!" cries another frustrated soul. The flag help forum on Craigslist abounds with posts like these. Since the free classifieds site recently introduced new tools to wrangle loan scammers, prostitution peddlers, and just-plain greedy marketers, it's no wonder transgressors are getting roped in.

Someone's Been Using My Gift Card - 01/05/07
http://news.yahoo.com/s/bw/b4017054
Susan Leibowitz figured she had found the ideal present for a retiring co-worker moving cross-country--a $615 gift card from Target. Not only did her friend adore shopping at the retailer, but she was relocating to a city with a Target store (Roanoke, Va.) and could use the gift to decorate her new house when and how she liked.

YouTube in hot water over steamy beach video - 01/05/07
http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2007/01/05/tech-youtube.html
A Brazilian judge has ordered YouTube to find a way to stop Brazilians from viewing steamy footage of supermodel Daniela Cicarelli and her boyfriend on the highly trafficked video-sharing site.

Moncton man suing makers of America's Funniest Home Videos over online voting - 01/04/07
http://www.cbc.ca/cp/Oddities/070104/K010406AU.html
A truck driver and part-time Santa Claus from Moncton, N.B., is suing the makers of the television show "America's Funniest Home Videos" because his bid for the US$100,000 grand prize was allegedly thwarted by a policy that forbids Canadians from voting.

Money, money, money

Money! Went shopping yesterday and when I went to put the shopping cart back, I saw some greenish pieces of paper scooting on the ground. It was money! I snatched them up - three fives and a one.

I wish I'd had someone to high five with!

One of Chris' friends bought another guitar last night. I took the dogs on a road trip to Falmouth (all of 45 minutes to drive), saw Arlo, met his son (what a cutie), talked for a bit, then headed back home. It was past Bandit and Guin's dinnertime, so I treated them to half of my t-bone steak. They were very happy doggies.

The bedroom furniture is supposed to come today, but it's raining. And when I measured where the dresser w/mirror is to go, the only way it will fit is kitty-korner, it's just too long. So I'm going to call the store to see if there's a shorter dresser and to reschedule the delivery.

Oy. It's always something.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I almost forgot

I sold both Dad and Chris' workshops - the entire contents minus the machinery yesterday to Bluejacket Inc. It's owned by the husband and wife team of Jeff and Suzi Marger, who brought one of their ship model guys, Al, with them to Dad's workshop yesterday. After going through the workshop, they stressed they wanted to see it stay together and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. We shook on it and Jeff is sending me a bill of sale and a check this coming week.

They plan on getting a trailer to bring down from Searsport (a good three hour drive), along with many of their employees, sometime later this month or early February. They can't do it sooner because they have a grandchild due next week and want to spend time with their daughter when the baby is born, which is understandable.

Mom2 is relieved and understands the workshop won't be cleaned out right away. I am relieved the damned thing is over with. I have several people interested in the machinery, so I am working on making appointments to sell those. Whatever isn't sold when Jeff and Suzi pack up the workshop will come home with me.

It was a very stressful day for me yesterday. I wish some people would remember that I lost a husband, too, and didn't need the extra stress forced on me yesterday.

Thank good for Jeff and Suzi - they have been nothing but kind and compassionate to both Mom2 and me.

Review of my book in Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune

Wow. And I completely forgot to post about this previously. A review of my book, Net Crimes & Misdemeanors 2nd edition appeared in the Seattle Times in November and was reprinted in the Chicago Tribune on December 4th!

The pertinent paragraphs are below, but do read the article in full at the first link:

Last time I wrote about Internet safety (in a column about MySpace.com), I received an e-mail with helpful suggestions from cybersafety expert Jayne Hitchcock, who has written a book on the topic: "Net Crimes and Misdemeanors: Outsmarting Web Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists," Second Edition (CyberAge Books, 2006, $25).

The book covers Internet dangers, including online scams, spyware, viruses, identity theft, harassment, phishing, cyberstalking and more. It suggests how to avoid these potential problems, as well as how to repair the damage if your kids, or you, fall victim.

The book begins by telling us that, yes, danger lurks on the Internet. Readers soon learn that Hitchcock was once a victim of cyberstalking. Consequently, she decided to find out more about Internet hazards, how to avoid them, how to recover when it's too late and finally, how to help others stay safe on the Net.

Chapter by chapter, Hitchcock explains the dangers, and then explains how we can protect ourselves and our computers with software shields, encryption, caution and good sense.

Finally, Hitchcock provides information on where to go for help. In an e-mail she points out two Web sites that can be particularly helpful for parents and others who want to learn more and become involved in advocating online safety for kids and adults:

• WHOA (Working to Halt Online Abuse) at www.haltabuse.org

• WHOA-KTD (the Kids/Teens Division) at www.haltabusektd.org


I also received a nice review of the book from an unexpected source Network World Security Strategies. A column will be written about my book by Michael Kabay, based on an extra-credit essay submitted by Norwich University undergraduate student Matthew Magliozzi in the CJ341 course during the Fall semester.

In Mr. Kabay's email to me, he wrote:

Mr Magliozzi provided an excellent review of an excellent book by Jayne A.
Hitchcock which my colleagues and I will certainly consider for possible
incorporation into the reading lists of several computer-crime-related
courses next year.

My thanks to Mr Magliozzi for his review and for his fine contributions in
class throughout the course and also to Ms Hitchcock for what sounds like a
wonderful piece of writing. I am looking forward to reading the book
myself.


Double wow!

Here's the gist of the review - if you want the full copy, email me.

J.A. Hitchcock < http://www.jahitchcock.com/ > has published a second edition of her book about Internet-mediated crime. Hitchcock has joined forces with Internet pioneer Vincent Cerf in _Net Crimes & Misdemeanors: Outmaneuvering Web Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists_ (CyberAge Books, 2006; ISBN 0-910-96572-2). < http://tinyurl.com/yzmgbw >

The book begins with a detailed account of her personal experiences as the victim of a cyberstalker.< http://members.tripod.com/~cyberstalked/ > In “Cyberstalking Happened to Me,” she describes the fraudulent offers from fraudsters initially calling themselves the “Woodside Literary Agency” and then goes on to recount the tale of the e-mail bombs, the forged newsgroup postings and the lawsuits filed against the perpetrators with the support of fellow writers. Hitchcock presents her experiences in an educational manner, not to garner sympathy. By explaining each step she took in the process of bringing Woodside to justice, she not only provides a guide for other victims to follow, but she also alerts the public to the difficulties one faces when reporting a computer crime to the authorities. This aspect alone makes the book worthwhile.

In “Words Can Hurt,” Hitchcock describes other instances of cyberstalking. She begins every chapter with definitions of essential terms and provides endnotes describing different acronyms or industry terms such as “sock puppet” (a secondary user-ID intended to deceive others into believing that someone is a separate user).< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet) >

The hallmark of her style that hits home more than any other cybercrime text is her presentation of personal stories. Hitchcock provides accounts of the victim-experience on a personal level. She does not provide a full name for the victim: they are simply “Nina,” “Andy,” “Katrina,” and so on. It is easy to become involved in these stories. Hitchcock addresses specific laws in relation to the specific cases and avoids legalistic details. Hitchcock closes out each chapter of her work with methods readers can take to protect themselves.

_Net Crimes_ would make an excellent supplement for an undergraduate course in cybercrime. Hitchcock addresses everything from spam to urban legends, eBay fraud, online dating fraud and phishing in terms of criminal acts. She also addresses steps law enforcement officials have taken both publicly in the community and on university campuses. Her work merits placement at the top of the college cybercrime literature list because her style resonates with students. I found that I could not put it down for long.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I hate CFS

I've had CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) since 1990, when Chris went to Desert Shield/Desert Storm. It was really, really bad in the beginning, where I couldn't even get out of bed. Over the years and finally finding doctors who understood CFS, I'm taking a combination of herbal supplements that ease the symptoms quite a bit.

The only time I have a big problem with it is when I am stressed out. After Chris died and the stress of all that and the funeral, I got sick with bronchitis (which I had while I was in Minneapolis, if you read my past posts). I also take naps when the CFS kicks in and sleep later than usual.

The stress of the last two days kicked the CFS into high gear. I came home from my dad's yesterday, drank two cups of Chai green tea, took some Airborne, then went to bed at 9 pm. I got up once in the middle of the night to let the dogs out, then crashed until 7:30 this morning. I made myself get up because the dogs had to go out, have their medication (and me mine) and I am exhausted already. I had another cup of Chai green tea, my throat is super sore (a common CFS symptom) and I feel like crawling back into bed.

But I have to go to the furniture store to make final payment on the bedroom set, pick a date for delivery and look at couches for the living room. Vivi is going with me. When I get home, I will either take a nap or go to be early again.

I hate CFS. I always have. It sucks. I start feeling normal, then it hits hard like this and brings back all those times when I just couldn't get out of bed. I always fear I'll have a bad relapse like that. I hope not.

I'm happy the bedroom set is supposed to be here. I'm happy I can pick out a new couch. I ordered new curtains for the living room and put new throw rugs down, so it looks good and getting better. Change is good for me. It makes me feel good.

I also learned something this morning: Don't repot plants when you're stressed/angry. I ended up getting more dirt on me than in the pots.

Pfft.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Hmmmm

Had my friend, Vivi, over for dinner last night. We had a good time, albeit with one troubling phone call, which I won't get into. Making a mountain out of a molehill is not the way to deal with it. Things should be dealt with properly and with thought. I was caught totally by surprise by the phone call, which came from the wrong person. I wish I had been alerted to the situation so that I didn't sound like such an idiot asking what the heck they were talking about.

Sigh.

Vivi ended up staying over. She read my tarot cards (she's good at it) and we watched some TV, then crashed.

Got up this am, let Vivi sleep in a bit, then I had another phone call from the same person that really upset me. I do not like it when accusations are thrown arbitrarily.

Drove to my dad's house to have lunch with him and catch up. He made me laugh and told me about a speeding ticket he got last week. Went 37 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. He's 84. We always told him he'd get a ticket one of these days. He was shocked to find out it was going to cost him $150 - he's going to appeal it in court.

When we got back to his house, my stepmom, Joan, was there and we talked for a while, then I fixed some things on her computer.

Headed home and am exhausted, mentally and physically.

Bwahahaha

So, "Anonymous is calling me a lawyer basher. See my response to them. I can't imagine who would post that to my blog. Can't imagine at all.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Good news, good news, good news!

First, the guy from the monument place called and apologized all over for the mistake in Chris' name on the headstone. I explained to him that as long as it can be fixed, I didn't mind. Then I told him about Chris and "Murphy's Law" and told him it got a laugh out of me. He seemed relieved.

Second, I had lunch today with the girl I'd met on the plane on the way home from Minneapolis. She'd been having problems from the cancer surgery she'd had and I helped her and her husband on the plane and when we landed. We've been in touch via email and finally got to catch up with each other today. She looked good - much better than when I saw her. She had had bronchitis after coming home and that on top of the surgery wore her out. We talked for a while, had our lunch, then she bought a copy of my book (I gave her my publisher's discount) and promised she was going to come to my talk/book signing at the Kennebunk Public Library on January 19th.

Third, and most important (and they *do* seem to come in threes, don't they?), I got a letter from Chris' life insurance company. Since it didn't look like a check, I really was not happy when I opened it. But it was just a letter telling me they would be paying the full amount of the insurance policy, plus interest. This means I don't have to worry about losing the house. I am so relieved and so happy.

My friend, Vivi, is coming over for dinner tonight. I called and told her we're having champagne. I can finally relax a little about the finances in my life and work on putting my life back together - get the workshop cleaned up and out (some ship model folks are coming this weekend to see what they want), clean up the workshop downstairs here, clean out Chris' office to make it a guest room, move my office downstairs and have the bathroom redone. The tile is old and falling apart and I have always wanted one of those spa jet bathtubs. Now I can do it.

You can't imagine the relief I feel and how lucky I am to have the family and friends I have. When I called my mom to tell her about the life insurance and burst into tears, I had to tell her they were happy, relieved tears, not sad ones. Not this time.

Monday, January 01, 2007

What a way to start the new year

So, I go to Mom2's house to pick her up to go to our favorite store, Wal Mart. I have to pass the cemetery where Chris and Dad are buried on the way to her place and thought I saw the headstone had been put up finally. It slipped my mind when I got to the house - Mom2 was in tears.

Two of her friends had called her, one right after the other, that didn't know Chris and Dad had died. So she had to deal with that. I held her and hugged her and we headed for Wal Mart. We both loaded the cart up with things we needed, groceries as well as odds and ends. I love the fact you can go to this Wal Mart and buy a TV and milk if you want.

We went through the Burger King drive thru to get a couple of cheeseburgers (bad Mom2 and Jayne).

When we went by the cemetery, I told her the headstone was up and could we drive by to look at it. She said sure, so we drove into the cemetery and stopped in front of Chris and Dad's graves. Chris' sister, Debbie, had chosen a sailboat design for the top and it was beautiful. Mom2 couldn't read from that far and asked me what was on it. I told her Dad's name and info was first, her name second, Chris' brother's name was next, then Chris. Then I burst out laughing.

For those who didn't know Chris, he always complained that Murphy's Law followed him everywhere. Basically, what can go wrong, will. And he was right most of the time. If he ordered something, it would be broken, the wrong color or delayed in shipment. When cooking, there would be an ingredient we'd forgotten to get at the store or he'd burn something.

Well, Murphy's law followed him to his grave. Literally.

His name reads:

Christoper Hitchcock 1966-2006

Do you see the error?

I told Mom2 and she began laughing, too. Only close friends and family would get this. I hope Chris is laughing as well.

We went back to the house and unloaded her car. I put my things in Jurgen. BTW, Jurgen drives very well in the snow!

We ate our cheeseburgers and Mom2 was saying that the girls (Chris' sisters) would be very mad. That headstone was expensive. I told her that if they can just chip away the "oper" and leave it as Chris, I'd be very happy with that. After all, everyone called him Chris.

I went downstairs to take photos of all the machinery and equipment and the workshop itself. I already have some people interested in some of the equipment, so wanted to get photos to send to whoever is interested.

I hugged and kissed Mom2 and left. I called Vivi - she wanted to meet me in Portsmouth to do some shopping (like I needed anything else, ha ha) and told her about the headstone. She burst out laughing. She understood because she knew Chris well. I called my Mom and she laughed as well.

Met Vivi and ended up buying more things - a clock for the kitchen, a light switch cover for the bedroom (it has purple irises on it), a new rug runner for the living room, some slipper socks, some bath stuff marked way down (only $1 for a whole set of goodies), and I think that's it.

She is a riot to hang out with. When she stopped to get gas, she couldn't figure out why her credit card wasn't working on the pump. She'd been sliding it backwards. Doh! In Home Depot, we had this poor guy running around helping us, then asking complete strangers questions about things. I've never laughed so much and it felt good. She's fun to shop with.

We hugged and said good-bye. Went home, put my new toilet seat on (I'd gotten it at Wal Mart), hung up the clock - it's perfect and put everything else away. Then I made dinner for me and the dogs - fettucine alfredo for me, chicken breast with veggies for the dogs. I had a small bottle of champagne and since I was too tired to stay up until midnight, toasted at 9 pm, then went to bed.

I woke up this morning, so glad it's 2007. It has got to be a better year for me.

Talked with Mom2 and she was right, the girls were mad about the headstone. But she and I aren't sure if they "got it" about why we thought it was funny. Yes, I am upset about the mistake, but you do have to laugh a bit about it.

Put my Christmas tree and decorations away and am sitting in my jammies, being a bum today.

I almost forgot - was doing the weekly newsletter for WHOA and came across a mention of our organization. This idiot who calls himself "Vinnythegreat" posted on his blog about my reaction to the video game that glorifies bullying. You can read the whole thing here, but the pertinent part that ticked me off was this:

"So instead of going after the real bullies or telling the victims how to properly act in a bullying situation, you blame the video game instead? I hope this bitch doesn't have children, because she sounds like the most irresponsible parent you can possibly have."

I couldn't let this go, so I emailed him the following:

Mr. Chiucchi,

In regards to your post about me where you wrote:

"So instead of going after the real bullies or telling the victims how to properly act in a bullying situation, you blame the video game instead? I hope this bitch doesn't have children, because she sounds like the most irresponsible parent you can possibly have."

If you did your research, you would see that I am president of an organization that does indeed help bully victims and educate people about this subject.

And calling someone you do not know or did not contact for a comment a "bitch" just shows how immature you are.

I hope your parents are very proud of you.


Pfft.

Happy New Year everyone!